Patterns of Alcohol Use After Early Liver Transplantation for Alcoholic Hepatitis.

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Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Early liver transplantation (LT) for alcoholic hepatitis (AH) is lifesaving but concerns regarding return to harmful alcohol use remain. We sought to identify distinct patterns of alcohol use post-LT to inform pre-LT candidate selection and post-LT addiction care.

METHODS: Detailed post-LT alcohol use data was gathered retrospectively from consecutive patients with severe AH at 11 ACCELERATE-AH sites from 2006-2018. Latent class analysis identified longitudinal patterns of alcohol use post-LT. Logistic and Cox regression evaluated associations between patterns of alcohol use with pre-LT variables and post-LT survival. A microsimulation model estimated the effect of selection criteria on overall outcomes.

RESULTS: Of 153 LT recipients, 1-, 3-, and 5-year survival were 95%, 88% and 82%. Of 146 LT recipients surviving to home discharge, 4 distinct longitudinal patterns of post-LT alcohol use were identified: Pattern 1 [abstinent](n = 103;71%), pattern 2 [late/non-heavy](n = 9;6.2%), pattern 3 [early/non-heavy](n = 22;15%), pattern 4 [early/heavy](n = 12;8.2%). One-year survival was similar among the 4 patterns (100%), but patients with early post-LT alcohol use had lower 5-year survival (62% and 53%) compared to abstinent and late/non-heavy patterns (95% and 100%). Early alcohol use patterns were associated with younger age, multiple prior rehabilitation attempts, and overt encephalopathy. In simulation models, the pattern of post-LT alcohol use changed the average life-expectancy after early LT for AH.

CONCLUSIONS: A significant majority of LT recipients for AH maintain longer-term abstinence, but there are distinct patterns of alcohol use associated with higher risk of 3- and 5-year mortality. Pre-LT characteristics are associated with post-LT alcohol use patterns and may inform candidate selection and post-LT addiction care.

Clinical Institute

Digestive Health






Swedish Digestive Health Institute